Sunday, September 20, 2009

Breaking the Fast

So - today marks the end of my 3 week cleanse.

What am I looking forward to? Not being hungry anymore. That has been the hardest part for me, trying to get comfortably full. Surprisingly, I'm not really looking forward to the junk. I thought I would have a big cookie fest or run to starbucks for coffee cake and donuts. But - not so much.

Here are the changes I've made that I hope to carry forward with me:

1) Skip the processed crap. It's gross. No other way around it. I haven't missed it AT ALL. If I want a cookie, get or make a homemade cookie. They taste better and aren't full of shit. Seriously, have you ever looked at the ingredients in a package of store bought treats (granola bars, cookies, etc)? Yuck.

2) Veggies and fruit. Delish. Just delish. Expensive, but worth it. This will be harder as the summer fruits that I have been enjoying get out of season. But I will try.

3) Starbucks as a treat with friends or family. Not a daily trip. The problem is not the coffee as I don't get a sweetened drink. My drink is a latte which is milk and espresso. Nothing processed. No sugar. The problem is NEEDING it. I've gotten out of the habit of getting it. The first week STUNK. I mean, it really sucked. Getting a daily latte was so part of my day and it was something I looked forward to minute by minute. But I've broken that habit now and it really is freeing.

4) Keeping to the browns instead of the whites. I have not yet ventured into the whole wheat pastas yet but my friend Jill tells me that the wheat pasta at Trader Joe's tastes better than regular pasta. I do know this, I haven't had white bread or white rice in years and I do not miss it at all. Maybe I will soon feel the same way about pasta?

5) Washing my face and brushing my teeth every night. I started this with the cleanse and have remained true to it for 3 weeks. Good habits to be in.

Wish I could say that I had dramatic changes with the cleanse - more energy, better skin, huge weight loss. That didn't happen but I sure feel like I have broken some bad or unwanted habits and I am really proud of myself for sticking with it, even when I was exhausted and hungry and just wanted eating to be simple.

Thanks for reading my "journey" with this. I'm really glad I did it!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Cleanse: End of Week Two

Earlier this week I thought about ending the cleanse at the end of week two. I'm not going to, but damn do I really want a glazed donut from starbucks right now!

Here are the pros that have come from the cleanse:
1) mental discipline - there are times when it has been easy and times when it has been difficult (e.g., yesterday at jack's party - pizza, cake, and ice cream) but I have stuck with it, through and through. And that, my friends, is huge.
2) it feels fabulous to be feeding my body such healthy, solid, clean foods.
3) i have lost weight while eating as much food as I want (as long as it is cleanse-appropriate).
4) i have a much greater awareness of how much processed crap I was putting into my body. I consider myself a healthy eater but I've been really surprised at the things I've had to cut out because they are processed.

1) This is the hugest con of all - I am hungry much of the time. I'm not sure I've been "full" for two weeks.
2) Eating is a huge pain in the neck. I have to go food shopping daily to ensure I have enough fruits in the house to make it through the day. I can't just whip together a 1 minute sandwich to eat on the run. If I'm having a salad it takes a good 5-10 minutes to make and lots of time to eat. This would make the slow food people happy, but I don't have a slow life. I usually have only a few minutes to eat in between picking up Ben from preschool and picking up Jack from the bus.
3) I really, really miss the treats.
4) I am finding it impossible to eat out. I've had two occasions in the past 2 weeks where I've been out with friends. One was a restaurant, one was Starbucks. There was literally nothing on the menu that I could eat so I had water. Talk about drawing attention to yourself.

Time's up now. Up next: how to take the things that work from this cleanse and incorporate them into "real" life.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Back to Running

So, today is the first day I am back to running since my back pain episode. I've been feeling back to normal for a few days now so I thought it was time to get back into a routine, especially since I've got a 1/2 marathon coming up in less than 6 weeks - one that people are actually paying me to run.

My chiropractor suggested I start out with one mile and work back up from there, as quickly or slowly as felt right for my body. But the weather was perfect for a run, my ipod shuffled up the absolutely perfect songs, and I felt no pain at all so I went for 3 miles. There is a long way between 3 miles and 13.1 miles, but I feel hopeful that I will get there pain-free.

There were times when I wished I was Phoebe from Friends and I could just bust out into a dance or into song during the run, I was so happy and the music was so good.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Fat, Rice, and Lots of It

I am loving the protein dinners I have been having on this cleanse. Pork, halibut, salmon, sea bass, grass fed beef. Especially the grass fed beef, especially the very marbled grass fed beef. I was so high on the fact that this is a natural, unprocessed protein and therefore cleanse-friendly until I remembered I still need to keep in mind its position on the food pyramid. Red meat once a week. No more. OK, I'm reminded.

The other JOY of this cleanse has been discovering brown rice. Combined with a protein, it is heavenly. I realize this is due to the law of relativity. If I was eating wheat products, rice would be at the bottom of the list. But since it is my only allowable grain, I am LOVING it. And yes, I am loving it so much that I used all-caps more than once to describe my love for it. That's how much I'm loving it!

I'm taking the cleanse one day at a time now. I have committed through Sunday. After that, I will reevaluate. Because physically, I can't say I feel any different at all. No more or less energy. No more or less bloated. No more or less skin flare-ups. And I haven't been putting the spiritual or emotional work into the cleanse in order to reap any of those benefits.


Monday, September 7, 2009

Clenase: Week 2 Day 1

Wow, so I made it through the entire week without even the tiniest little cheat. It is amazing the lengths to which you have to go to avoid sugar and processed food.

Today was really the first day that everything seemed old hat to me. It wasn't challenging, I wasn't stuck trying to figure out meals, I wasn't preoccupied with when to eat, what to eat, etc. It was just a nice, regular ol' day. I had an enormous amount of fruits and some veggies. The strawberries we had were like candy. Just sensational.

I cooked for myself, for my family, and made a gorgeous pavlova for the guys for dessert topped with the strawberries.

One of my friends who is doing the cleanse with me is focusing on the cleanse more holistically. She is adding meditation and stretching. I haven't really incorporated that but I would like to. I think will make a big difference in the spiritual/emotional piece that I feel like I am lacking.

We had a wonderful 3 day weekend. Now it's back to reality and lunchboxes in the morning.


What to Wear

I am constantly in the process of figuring out what clothes and styles work on my body. I have come to realize in my old age (ha) that every woman has parts to her body that she should highlight and parts from which she might want to distract.

I like my shoulders and chest and my lower legs and I feel like my butt is still in good enough shape to highlight it. I am always looking for ways to slenderize my belly and elongate my neck (ways other than plastic surgery, that is).

I just saw advertised a fashion website called It has all sorts of products and ideas, none of which I really paid any attention to. But they do have a link to a body and style analysis which I thought was pretty cool. You have to register to join the site to do the analysis but that is super fast and easy. Once you have joined, go to My Account and then click on Body and Style Analysis. You'll answer lots of questions and then, out pops your body type and suggestions for clothes that would work best on you.

They absolutely, positively got my body type correct (Oval) and I was really happy to see that some of the styles I currently wear work well for maximizing the good and minimizing the not so good. But I also got some additional ideas and suggestions so it was well worth the time it took to take the survey.



I am eating the most fabulous lunch right now, in a quiet house (not sure which is more delicious - the lunch or the quiet).

I just got back from the farmer's market with some veggies to put in a pasta for Hubs and the kids tonight. I won't eat it b/c of the pasta, but I whipped together a fabulous and super easy and delish corn salad for lunch.

I boiled some corn on the cob, sliced it from the ear and tossed it with orange cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, a splash of olive oil and a bit of sea salt. It is heavenly. I will probably be hungry again within the hour but I am savoring this while I have it.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Sweet MFD

Today is my niece's first birthday. It is such a sweet day, but I'm always a little sad on my nieces' and nephews' birthdays because we aren't celebrating with them. Last time I saw MFD she was 6 weeks old and in that perfect newborn stage. I tried to hold her and smell her and soak her up as much as I could because I knew it would be a while before I had the chance to be with her again.

I love my little nieces and nephew so very much and it breaks my heart to be so far away from them. Aaron's brother and sister live 4 hours from each other in the midwest so on big occasions like birthdays they can get together. I have to admit, it makes the sting of not being with family even worse when we are far away and they are together.

I love Northern California and it would be really hard to ever uproot our family but if I ever did it would be to live near them.

Cleanse: Day 6 Update 1

I am starting to wonder why I am doing this cleanse for 3 weeks. I am 6 days in and other than really missing carbs and some of my favorite foods, I do not feel any better. Not spiritually, not emotionally, not physically. I definitely do not have more energy, that's for sure. I have lost a few pounds and feel thinner and lighter, but that was really not my goal to begin with. And we all know that feeling thin and light is fleeting. Even if the scale doesn't move, there is no guarantee I will feel that way for long.

I am thinking I may give it one more week, no matter what, and then reevaluate. If I don't start to feel the benefits, I may call it a two week experiment.

Even if nothing further good comes out of this, I am still glad I did/am doing this. It is good for me to see that I do, in fact, have willpower. That I can say no to desserts and snacks. It has been excellent for me to get back into the 3 meals a day routine which I seem to have forgotten all about this summer. And it has been fantastic to eat such wonderful, delicious protein every day. All of that I will surely incorporate back into life off-cleanse.

We went to a BBQ today, it was 7 hours of fun and sun and food. And I totally stuck to my plan. I was really proud of myself. Even when my friend's little girl was sitting on my lap, her homemade brownie ice cream sandwich dripping down her and my arm, I didn't even take a lick. Go me!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Cleanse: Day 5 Update 1

One interesting learning for me through this cleanse is that food is so much more than fuel for me. I guess I've always known that but now
I know it at a different level now.

Right now, the food I eat is strictly fuel. It is not pleasurable. You know the joy you get when you bit into a crisp, fabulous summer salad? Guess what? It's gone after Day 5. I am now eating entirely to feed my hunger and it is annoying and monotonous.

I started to think this morning about the cavepeople. Basically this is how they ate all the time. Only foods from the earth and meet they hunted with their own hands. I cannot believe the human race didn't die out. I mean, what is the point of living if you eat this way? How they ever survived without killing each other is also beyond me. They must have been hungry much of the time. It is an absolutely gross feeling.
Maybe if I had a personal chef doing all sorts of inventive things for me within my cleanse boundaries it would be different. But there are only so many things I know how to do with a salad.

In other news, I went to my favorite butcher today and bought my first grass fed beef. When I asked about it, the butchers all kind of crinkled their noses. They called it tough, dry, gamey and like buffalo. Not a ringing endorsement. On the other hand, it is fabulous for you - more Omegas than wild salmon. I'm going to do a sea salt rub and grill it tomorrow night and see how it goes.

Gotta go finish my salad. Oh joy.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cleanse: Day 4 Update 1


(Lately I think I start every blog post with "so."


I did a great job with the protein and fruit yesterday but not a great job with the veggies so I am eating a huge plate of lettuce with avocado, slivered almonds, peas, garbanzo beans, craisins and edamame.

Lately I've been hearing a lot in the news about how it's not true that eating healthy costs more than eating poorly. My take on that: bullshit. My food bill this week is through the roof. AND I have to go to the store every day for fresh veggies and fruits. You can get a 20 pack of burgers for $9.99 at the grocery to go with hamburger buns for $1.99. I feel like I'm eating $12 in one day, if not one salad alone from the grovery.


I digress again.

What I wanted to say in this Day 4 update is that I am tired and very low on energy. I have a stack of papers on my kitchen table that need to be filed and I just cannot motivate to do it. I need to pay the bills. These are things that usually can be done on low energy days because you don't have to go anywhere. You can do it in your sleep practically. But not today. Today I just want to lie down on the couch and stare into space.

It's Not Cancer If You Still Have Control of Your Poop.

Well, I finally went to an MD to discuss my back pain which comes and goes. Today it has started radiating down my legs. The doctor was very uninterested. Had me walk on my tip toes and walk with one foot in front of the other and then told me to go see a physical therapist.

Me, being me, said to him, "Don't you need to at least touch it to see if there's a big cancer mass back there?"

"Well," he said. "If it was a tumor you'd probably have other symptoms such as loss of bowel control. So while I can't say you don't have one, we should try things like physical therapy first."

I found that to be a very amusing answer. So while I'm not convinced that 2 months from now I won't go back to a new doctor and have him or her say "What a shame you didn't come to me when you first started having pain. You have back cancer and two days to live. But if you came to me right away I could have saved you."

In the meantime, it's off to find a good physical therapist. Blah.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Cleanse: Day 3 Update 2

Wow, a two update day. I must be getting used to this cleanse.

Unbelievably, the almond butter tortillas kept me very full all afternoon. I had some preemptive fruit this afternoon to tide me over until a late dinner and was fine.

I took the boys to a Back to School party where there was all sorts of wine and beer and munchies and I easily refrained. None of the items were my favorites but that never would have stopped me before.

I have decided that it is most important for me to be true to the spirit of this cleanse, rather than the letter of the law. For example, I had sea bass in a marinade tonight that included soy sauce. I left out the sugar that the recipe called for but I did go ahead with the soy sauce even though that is technically a wheat product. I prepared the sea bass over a bed of brown rice. It was delish.

Cleanse: Day 3 Update 1

Wow, no updates today until 2:30. That must mean things are getting better and it's true.

Knock wood, I don't have a trace of a headache.

But I did have my first (known) mistake. In searching for something a bit more filling than fruits and veggies for lunch, I found corn tortillas at the store. I spread some natural almond butter on them and had them for lunch. I was so pleased with myself for substituting the corn tortillas for the flour tortillas and thereby not having the wheat. But then I looked at the ingredients:

ground corn treated with lime
cellulose gum
propionic acid
benzoic acid
phosphoric acid
guar gm

Definitely processed junk. Doesn't that sound disgusting.

Also, I hadn't had even a little bit of a craving for any of the junk today until I had lunch. Now I am being tempted mercilessly by my kids' chocolate chip granola bars. I wonder if there is something about the junk in processed food that makes you crave more?

Tonight's dinner - sea bass in a ginger soy marinade. and a huge salad.

ps - another whoops. just realized my organic, natural almond butter also contains "unrefined cane sugar, palm oil and sea salt." i'm thinking you can't go to the local safeway for truly healthy stuff. whole foods it is. i bet they have almond butter that is ground almonds and nothing else. of course, it probably won't taste as good as the one with sugar and salt, but it will be better for me.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cleanse: Day 2 Update 4

I DID IT!!! I did not even have one lick of the icing (not easy to do when you're setting up and cutting the cake.

Cleanse: Day 2 Update 3

BTW, I do not assume that any of you reading this blog are actually interested in my ad nauseum updates on the cleanse. I am doing this more as a record for myself of how it is going. So feel free to skip over these if you are less than interested.

3pm - the headache is starting in. Today I know it is not protein related as I had over 4oz ounces of chicken with my lunch. That is more than I would normally have. So the headaches has to be related to the lack of sugar and caffeine. Scary.

Also, since Aaron and I are in this together, he's been updating me on the research related to caffeine withdrawal. It generally takes 72 hours for the aches, pains, headaches, etc related to caffeine withdrawal to go away and 9 days for all caffeine to leave your system. Caffeine Withdrawal Syndrome is recognized as an official diagnosis by the WHO and American Psychiatrict Association. It has ICD9 codes and everything.

I have to say Aaron has been feeling even worse than me because he drinks double the caffeine I do every day.

My first big challenge is in a few minutes. We're having Jack's birthday cake. Cake, milk, and ice cream. Yum! But no-go for me today.

Cleanse: Day 2 Update 2

It's noon and I'm feeling good. Had a hand full of almonds at 11, not b/c I was hungry but b/c I knew I needed some protein and I think that may have helped. Today's lunchtime salad will have grilled chicken.

Hubs is also going caffeine free (actually, he is switching to only water) which is big for him too. We were not happy campers last night. But hopefully the worst is behind...

Cleanse: Day 2 Update 1

8:30am - Felt so much better after a dinner of pork tenderloin in an orange ginger marinade. It must be all about the protein for me. Also think I have to eat dinner with the boys (5pm) rather than with aaron (7:30pm).

Woke up this morning feeling good, fresh, ready to start the day. Amazing how many times I think about coffee though. Shocking what a part of my daily ritual it is.

My friend starts with me today. I'm looking forward to the camaraderie.